Turkey, US agree to continue F-16 talks

Turkey and the US have agreed to continue talks on Ankara’s demand to acquire F-16 fighter jets after a meeting between the two sides was conducted in a “positive and constructive atmosphere”, the Defence Ministry here said.

During the meeting in Washington on Wednesday, delegations from the two sides exchanged views on bilateral and regional defence and security issues, and the agreed to hold their next talks in Ankara, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

The Turkish delegation was visiting Washington for discussions on the country’s proposal to acquire more F-16 jets and for modernisation of its current fleet with the money paid to the US for the F-35 fighter jet program, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said while addressing a parliament budget meeting on Tuesday.

Turkey’s procurement of the Russian S-400 missile defence systems prompted the US administration to suspend Ankara’s participation in the F-35 joint program in 2019.

Tensions between the US and Turkey have escalated ever since over the deal, as Washington claimed that the S-400 systems would be incompatible with the NATO system and risk to expose its confidential military information to Russia.

The US imposed sanctions on Turkey over the S-400s, targeting the Turkish defence procurement agency and its officials.

Ankara says it paid $1.4 billion for F-35 jets, and asks for reimbursement with F-16 jets.